Hospital sorry for corridor death

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A mental health trust has apologised to the family of a patient who died in a hospital corridor.

Peter Thompson, a voluntary patient at Edale House in Manchester, was drunk and denied entry to the ward because he refused to hand over a bottle of vodka.

Instead he was left to "sleep-off" his intoxication on a corridor at the entrance to the unit, which cares for mental health patients.

Staff believed he would be safer where he was rather than waking him and him wandering outside.

Nurses and managers were forced to step over him to get into the ward.

He was checked periodically but Mr Thompson, who had a history of drug and alcohol abuse, was found lifeless on the floor 10 hours later.

Nigel Meadows, coroner for Manchester, said following a five-day inquest which concluded on Tuesday that Mr Thompson's death was "wholly preventable".

A pathologist's report concluded he died from fatal levels of alcohol and anti-psychotic drugs, with liver cirrhosis as a contributing factor.

The inquest jury returned a verdict of "death by misadventure contributed to by neglect".

The coroner will write to Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust, responsible for Edale House, setting out recommendations to prevent a recurrence.

He will also contact the Nursing and Midwifery Council calling for investigation into three of the nurses involved.

Mr Thompson fell asleep in the corridor at around 8.10pm, on April 3 last year.

When a night manager went to see him at around 6.15am the next morning, he was "cold and unresponsive".

Paramedics and police were called, and Mr Thompson was declared dead at 6.43am.

Staff at Edale House mental health unit can be seen on CCTV moving Mr Thompson's dead body across the corridor outside Grafton Ward where he became a voluntary patient in February 2010.

Disciplinary action has been taken against members of staff involved and compensation paid to Mr Thompson's family.

Dr Sean Lennon, medical director of Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust, said: "We would like to apologise to Peter Thompson's family and friends and express our deep regret about the circumstances of his death.

"This was an isolated incident and does not reflect the high levels of care and dignity with which we treat our service users. "On this occasion we fell short of our usual high standard and we are very sorry about this.

"Following the incident we completed a thorough Serious and Untoward Incident (SUI) review of the case and produced a detailed action plan.

"As a result of this we have now developed more detailed guidance for staff on nursing an intoxicated person, updated our policy on cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and established a clear system of identifying roles and responsibilities in relation to communicating an unexplained death to family members.

"Mr Thompson's family were given a copy of this review and have been kept informed of the process as it developed.

"Alongside the SUI review, disciplinary action has been taken against members of staff involved."